I’m supposed to be on holiday, but I can’t help myself. The weather has been ‘iffy’ and lure of the pub lunch has worn off, but the flowers are beckoning. Just a quick walk around the lanes then… it took two hours to get half a mile but the flowers are like little gems… and not the lettuce type 😉
Lovely, lovely, lovely place.. far from the madding crowd, history in bundles and all the original features… Plas Dinam is a quiet ‘pile’ in rural mid Wales and a treat to photograph. It has super comfortable rooms, floral curtains, ancient plumbing and a cavernous snooker room. It also has (the best bit) an ANCIENT wildflower meadow, dating back to the middle of last century. Their are orchids, yellow rattle and what I assume was Pignut… fantastic, colourful and home to insects galore. A great location for weddings, birthday weekends and walking…refreshingly non-boutique, and not a spa in sight!
Had a great couple of weeks recently shooting two top notch hotels in Tuscany… Borgo Pignano and Conti Di San Bonifacio. The former is a ‘country-house style’ house set amidst 750 acres of ‘Bio Dynamic’ estate, it has an infinity pool cut from the rock beneath the hotel, its own bees, olive trees and stables. The restaurant is stocked with veg from the estates own gardens, and inside there’s a pool table, a library and some beautiful old Italian furniture. It’s more like staying in a private house than in an hotel… no nasty signage, and the ‘hands-off’ approach from the staff is perfectly pitched.
Conti Di San Bonifacio was similarly amazing, and the lovely Countess Sarah was the perfect host… she plied us with drinks (wonderful red wines made on the estate) and showed us around the grounds which were teeming with birds and animals… not to mention the herbs which the chef used every day in the restaurant. Its a perfect place for a wedding, but also for a quiet getaway… not too far from the wonderful Maremma coastline, and surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. The rooms are huge and cool (in both senses of the word), and the decor refreshingly sleek.
I photographed rooms and ‘lifestyle’ at both hotels, and despite imperfect weather, we got a nice selection of atmospheric images… may be nice to return though, to get some summery ‘poolside’ shots though 😉
Edith Wharton called it “probably the most perfect example even in Italy of great effect on a small scale”… its a lovely little thing, a jewell in an otherwise well-bejewelled Florentine landscape… North of the great Renaissance city, its tucked away in Settignano (home to a jewell of a restaurant thats only for vegans… another reason to go!). I was in the area photographing a rather nice hotel, but on my day off, this was a garden I had longed to see and photograph… Its got a bowling green, some dilapidated statues, some ancient topiary and a water garden that rivals anything else in Italy. Thats it… reasons a-plenty to visit.
It was lovely to do some lifestyle photography for a local company last week (no long car journeys and home so quickly!)… Nisi Living are a Bristol based company, selling ‘Mediterranean Tableware and accessories’. They are a recent start up, selling online, and have a range of tableware, rugs, lanterns and furniture… we were blessed with a hot (Mediterranean!) sun and it felt like Greece had come to Bristol!
Tewkesbury Park is beautifully sited, surrounded by a rolling golf course, and with views across to the Cotswolds that any Hotel visitor would die for (and in fact, any photographer would die to photograph!). The new owners have taken on a big job, but have (with the help of vastly experienced manager Patrick Jones) revamped and revitalised the place. Its smart, cool and comfortable. I photograph a lot of hotels and have seen many ‘top end’ a place spoiled by being a bit too cool and ‘distant’. Here, they have managed to be super chic but also friendly and approachable. The design is thanks to Jane Clayton, and the added wow factor is thanks to those lovely rolling hills..
I recently shot an interior for a young interior designer in Parsons Green. The architects, Ikon, had built a light filled and well proportioned basement extension, and the designer, Summer Williams, used a light touch and pared back colour … The result is rather lovely. And easy to photograph! Thanks to Summer for the styling too.
Two features out at the moment, in Homes and Gardens, and in 25 Beautiful Homes. Many thanks to the relevant mags, but also to the owners…. may of them love to be in a magazine, but its actually quite a job for them to get the place ready, clean all those windows, dust all those surfaces and hide all those wires! here’s to them! and thanks
Now, I’m keen on pubs. Very keen. In fact I did a whole book a few years ago for CAMRA on beautiful pub interiors, so when I was asked to ‘do some snaps’ for a mates pub, I was happy to do so. Very happy in fact. Its a great little boozer, not a gastro pub (although they do some nice burgers, soups and even vegan stuff), it has a quiz night and shows the rugby every now and then. What more do you want? Its very central (Kingsdown in Bristol), good value and very friendly. So, next time you’re ‘riding through the glen’, nip in to the Robin Hood. You might spot some very merry men….